Saturday, March 25, 2017

Offshore Wind Power Comparison - 1991 to 2016

Subtitle:  Modern Offshore Wind Power Costs Less Than Half of First Project

A recent article on WUWT continues the theme there of anti-renewables, this time with an article that purports to compare the first offshore wind project, now in decommissioning, to an average of current projects.   I left a comment, shown below, to compare apples to apples, the first project to the best of today.   By definition, the first project was the best of its time. 

"For Captain T. A. “Ike” Kiefer, if I may. 

A very misleading analysis above.  To compare the first offshore project, Vindeby, to an average of current projects misses the mark.   A better comparison would be for the first project, by definition the best at the time, to one of the best projects by today's technology - all located in the same general area.    I have done so below.   The result is that today's best project delivers power at less than half that of the Vindeby project. (Vindeby = 100, Nordsee One = 42) 

The Nordsee One offshore wind project is under construction and has ample information published by which to make the comparison.   The project, off the coast of Germany, has 332 MW gross capacity with 54 turbines of 6.1 MW each.   Published cost data shows US$978 million (2015) for a cost-per-kW of $2945.  Annual capacity factor is expected to be 41.5  percent, based on the published anticipated production of 1.2 million MWh annually.  Nordsee One website is at this link


Plant:...............Nordsee One............Vindeby
Year.......................2017.......................1991
MW ...................... 332.......................4.95
N Turbines...............54..........................11
Turbine size, MW.....6.1.........................0.45
Cap Cost (million)..$978........................$23
Cost/kW.................2945.......................4645
Capacity Factor......41.5.......................22
MWh/y delivered....1.2.....................0.0095   (millions)
Sales price for 10-year payout  - 10 percent approximate Return on Investment
..... $/MWh.............81.........................241
O&M $/MWh..........35...........................35
Total sales price
.......$/MWh...........116........................276

Ratio, modern to old:   (116/276) = 0.42

This result is not surprising, given the known improvements in economy of scale, higher hub heights, much better capacity factors, and continued reduction in both installed costs per kW, and Operations plus Maintenance.  

The future is bright for offshore wind, with even larger turbines, higher hub heights, and improved capacity factors.  See "Enormous Blades for Offshore Energy," by Sandia National Laboratory.  see link 

UPDATE - 4/1/2017:  (not an April Fools' joke)  -  further research into offshore wind shows that O&M for the first 5 years of operation is included in the turbine sales price.   Therefore, a better comparison of the Vindeby and Nordsee One plants is 81/241 for 34 percent ratio of modern to oldest performance.  --  end update

Roger E. Sowell, Esq.
Marina del Rey, California
copyright (c) 2017 by Roger Sowell - all rights reserved


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